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FLOOD RELIEF CORRUPTION: Government to fire those involved

The Government is probing corruption in the distribution of flood relief grants to those affected in the Agriculture sector and has committed to fire any public servant who is found culpable.

In a statement from the Office of the Vice President Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo on Tuesday evening, it was disclosed that during the next month, a mechanism is being put in place at the Ministry of Agriculture to allow for persons who suffered losses during the floods to verify their names. Persons who were left off the list will have their names added, and an investigation will be conducted into persons who should not have been on the list. Relative to the latter, members of the public with information on persons, who did not quality, but benefited from the flood relief grant are advised to contact the Ministry of Agriculture with specifics to aid the investigation and action.

Dr. Jagdeo who met with Residents of Region Six at , the Rose Hall Estate Community Ground, Canje, on Monday noted that this mechanism is in response to “unscrupulous acts by a few to undermine the successful rollout of a carefully thought-out support programme.” The programme was announced in July 31, 2021, for farmers who were hard hit by flooding during the period of April to June this year.

Dr Jagdeo explained that assessments, with the aid of regional organisations, were done and a support programme almost $8B was carefully crafted to help some 60,000 in various categories of households and farmers.

The Vice President has made it clear that government employees who are found to have engaged in corrupt and unscrupulous activities will be terminated. “We hired people to look out for our (the government’s) interest to verify it (the compilation of names of proposed beneficiaries),” he was quoted saying.

On July 31, 2021, the PPP/C led government made available almost $8 billion to assist persons severely affected by flooding – a measure that was in response to a commitment made.

Cash of $100,000 was to be issued to homestead farmers, $50,000 to those with kitchen gardens and $50,000 to affected households. This amounted to over $3.5B.

There was a ceiling of $10M in compensation for rice farmers. Those farmers who lost rice ready to be harvested were to receive $80,000 per acre. Those with rice sowed were to receive $65,000 per acre and those with land prepared were to receive $45,000 per acre. In addition, to this support, 60,000 bags of seed paddy were to be made available.  This totalled up to $3.2B.

Affected livestock farmers were to receive $600M. Subsistence farmers, Small farmers, Medium farmers, and Large-scale farmers were targeted for support. In addition to these direct transfers, the Ministry of Agriculture and GLDA were to assist through genetic improvements, drainage and irrigation works, technical support, and extension services to the approximate value of $500M